Quique Sanchez Flores could make as many as half a dozen changes for the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Watford play Chelsea on Wednesday and the head coach, while keen to respect the history of the famed competition, wants to rest of some of his overworked first XI and give some of the players on the periphery of the starting lineup the chance to impress and gain some much-needed match action. New signings Nordin Amrabat and Costel Pantilimon are almost certain to start while it would be something of a shock if Almen Abdi, Sebastian Prödl, Adlène Guedioura and Ikechi Anya did not start.
“We make five, six changes, for sure,” said the head coach this morning. “It is a good opportunity for players who are not ordinarily playing. Some of them are close to playing and it is the possibility to check and test a lot of players.”
Sanchez Flores left Miguel Britos and Etienne Capoue on the bench in the last round and waited until the 73rd-minute to bring on Odion Ighalo.
“We respect a lot this competition,” he said. “We also respect our fans and want to go to the next round. If we go to the next round, excellent. If not, this is football. They [Forest] have a very good team, are really organised, they have variants, play 4-1-4-1, sometimes two strikers. They have very energetic players in the middle. We respect them a lot. They are a historic club who won the European Cup. It will be a pleasure and honour to play against them.”
Sanchez Flores said he is not even thinking about the big Premier League game at Vicarage Road on Wednesday when the champions come to town.
“We focus on Nottingham Forest and try to explain to the players this is the most important game,” he said. “We want to win every single match. I’m not the sort of coach who can think about three different lineups. I don’t believe in that. The next match is the most important. To start building the lineup for Chelsea doesn’t make sense. I’m always thinking about putting out a good team.”
Our probable line-up for Saturday